Justice Kavanaugh seeks to dispel the notion that the Supreme Court is partisan

Jul 13, 2023, 1:41 PM

FILE - Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh poses for a new group portrait at the Supreme Court bu...

FILE - Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh poses for a new group portrait at the Supreme Court building in Washington, Oct. 7, 2022. Kavanaugh sought Thursday, July 13, 2023, to dispel notions of a partisan high court, stressing the collegial relationships among the justices that sometimes help them land on the same sides of issues despite their differences. Kavanaugh sought Thursday to dispel notions of a partisan high court, stressing the collegial relationships among the justices that sometimes help them land on the same sides of issues despite their differences. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) — Justice Brett Kavanaugh pointed to the mixed President Joe Biden’s student loan debt relief program.

“The court is an institution of law. It’s an institution of law not of politics, not of partisanship,” Kavanaugh said at a judicial conference in Minnesota, in the first public remarks by a justice since the court recessed for the summer late last month.

The federal law aimed at keeping Native American children with Native families.

And the term was marked by other notable surprises, rejecting conservative positions in a deportation priorities.

“We have lived up, in my estimation, to deciding cases based on law and not based on partisan affiliation and partisanship,” Kavanaugh said. “We don’t caucus in separate rooms. We don’t meet separately. We’re not sitting on different sides of the aisle at an oral argument. … We work as a group of nine.”

Speaking to an audience of judges, attorneys and court personnel from the 8th Circuit, which stretches from Minnesota and the Dakotas south to Arkansas, Kavanaugh said he didn’t fully appreciate until he joined the court how much time the nine justices spend alone with each other.

He estimated that they eat lunch together around 65 times a year.

“And the rule at lunch is you can’t talk about work,” he said. “It’s a good rule. … It builds relationships and friendships and then when we have tough cases — and we only really have tough cases — you have a reservoir of good will toward each of the other people.”

Kavanaugh said he was warmly welcomed in his first term in 2018 by then-Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, who were part of the court’s liberal wing. He also praised his working relationships with the two newest justices, conservative Amy Coney Barrett and liberal Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Kavanaugh, who was the justice most often in the majority this term in divided cases, said the Supreme Court hears 60 to 70 cases a term and that only a relative few might get most of the attention. But he said there are lots of 9-0 decisions, and there can also be a lot of 7-2 and 6-3 decisions.

“All sorts of different lineups,” he said. “And so I might be working with Sonia Sotomayor on the Andy Warhol case, while we disagree on a case on the competition clause. We’re not going to let our relationship where we’re working together on one suffer just because we disagree on the other. And that’s going on with all nine of us on a daily basis.”

Kavanaugh only briefly mentioned Chief Justice John Roberts said in May that the justices were continuing to work on that as a group.

“That’s accurate,” he said. “I’m not going to add anything to what the chief justice has said on that topic.”

Roberts offered no specifics at the time, and the justices have not adopted an ethics code.

Kavanaugh said people getting upset when the high court makes difficult decisions comes with the territory. He said the best the justices can do is try to be consistent, clearly explain their reasoning, and try to show that they actually are working as a team of nine on difficult cases instead of caucusing on a partisan basis.

“You shouldn’t be in this line of work if you don’t like criticism,” he said. “Because you’re going to get it. And you’re going to get a lot of it.”

United States News

FILE - President Joe Biden and California Gov. Gavin Newsom wait for reporters to leave the room du...

Associated Press

California governor to name Laphonza Butler, former Kamala Harris adviser, to Feinstein Senate seat

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom will name Laphonza Butler, a Democratic strategist and adviser to Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign, to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat held by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a spokesman in his office said Sunday. In choosing Butler, Newsom fulfilled his pledge to appoint a Black woman […]

41 minutes ago

File - The Southern University Human Jukebox marching band warms up before the 2023 National Battle...

Associated Press

Federal student loan payments are starting again. Here’s what you need to know

Federal student loan borrowers will need to start making payments again this month after a three-year-plus pause due to the pandemic.

46 minutes ago

Associated Press

A woman who fled the Maui wildfire on foot has died after weeks in a hospital burn unit

HONOLULU (AP) — A woman who escaped a wildfire that destroyed Hawaii community by running through a burning field has died after spending more than seven weeks in a hospital burn unit. Laurie Allen died Friday at Straub Medical Center in Honolulu, according to a gofundme page set up for her and her husband, Perry […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Inmate accused of killing corrections officer at Georgia prison

GLENNVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia prison guard died Sunday after he was attacked by an inmate, state officials said. Correctional officer Robert Clark, 42, died at a hospital after an inmate assaulted him with a homemade weapon at Smith State Prison in rural Glennville, the Georgia Department of Corrections said in a news release. […]

9 hours ago

FILE - The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Wednesday, Aug 30, 2023, in Washington. The new term of the ...

Associated Press

The Supreme Court may tackle guns, abortion in new session starting Monday

Major cases await, as they always do, including several challenges to regulatory agencies and efforts to regulate social media platforms.

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Video shows bloodied Black man surrounded by officers during Florida traffic stop

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A traffic stop captured on video by a bystander shows a handcuffed Black man with swollen eyes and a bloody face sitting on the ground surrounded by officers outside a vehicle in northeast Florida, and the officers’ law enforcement agency says it has launched an internal review. Force was used while […]

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



When most diets fail, re:vitalize makes a difference that shows

Staying healthy and losing weight are things many people in Arizona are conscious of, especially during the summer.


Mayo Clinic

Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you

With tryouts quickly approaching, now is the time for parents to schedule physicals for their student-athlete. The Arizona Interscholastic Association requires that all student-athletes must have a physical exam completed before participating in team practices or competition.



At Ability360, every day is Independence Day

With 100 different programs and services, more than 1,500 non-medically based home care staff, a world-renowned Sports & Fitness Center and over 15,000 people with disabilities served annually, across all ages and demographics, Ability360 is a nationwide leader in the disability community.

Justice Kavanaugh seeks to dispel the notion that the Supreme Court is partisan